A Ugandan national has recently appeared in the Nelspruit Magistrate’s Court in Mpumalanga, South Africa, after being accused of swindling a former teacher out of her pension payout.
The suspect, Christopher Masereka, also known as Moses Mawaza, allegedly scammed a 46-year-old former teacher whom he had entered into a mutual relationship with.
The incident began in March when Masereka informed his lover that he was involved in logistics. He convinced her to resign from her teaching job so that they could invest her pension money into a business they would run together. Tempted by the promise of a prosperous business, the former teacher resigned in May 2023.
In August 2023, when her pension savings were paid into her account, Masereka and his lover decided to withdraw the money in three separate transactions on the same day. The total amount withdrawn has been withheld for investigation purposes. Shockingly, the former teacher handed over all the money to Masereka.
After receiving the funds, Masereka started avoiding his lover’s calls, moved to a different location, and changed his contact numbers to avoid any further interaction. Realizing that she had been scammed, the former teacher reported the incident to the Nelspruit police, who launched an investigation.
The investigation resulted in the arrest of Masereka on Sunday, October 8, 2023. He has been charged with theft under false pretence and contravention of the Immigration Act. The Department of Home Affairs will also be involved in the investigation to determine the suspect’s legal status in South Africa.
Authorities have not ruled out the possibility of additional charges being added to the case, as similar incidents have been reported in the province in the past. Masereka has been remanded in custody, and a formal bail application is scheduled for Friday, October 20.
Police are urging anyone who may have fallen victim to a similar scam to come forward and assist with the investigation. This case serves as a reminder to be cautious when entering into financial arrangements with others, especially those involving large sums of money.